Utah delegates to next week's Democratic National Convention offer a wide range of suggestions about whom they would like as Barack Obama's running mate.

They mention seven different preferences: Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y.; New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson; Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sibelius; Sen. Joe Biden, D-Del.; Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn.; Sen. Jim Webb, D-Va.; and Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine

But most delegates, in response to questionnaires sent by the Deseret News, offered no opinion or simply said that they trust Obama to make a good selection.

For example, state Rep. Chris Johnson, D-Salt Lake, who is also a delegate, said she has no particular preference and fully expects Obama to choose a "running mate (who) will not only represent balance in his administration but balance in the nation's needs."

The convention begins next Monday in Denver, and Obama is expected to name his running mate before then. In a twist, he plans to announce it first by e-mail and cell phone text messages to those who sign up online at barackobama.com. Convention delegates will not only officially nominate Obama next week, but also his running mate.

Utah delegates outline many reasons for some of their preferences.

"As a Hillary Clinton delegate (for president), I clearly would love to see her join Sen. Obama on the ticket. Ultimately, however, I recognize the decision is his alone and will be happy with and supportive of whomever he chooses," said delegate Arlyn Ray Bradshaw.

She is among the nine delegates in Utah's 29-member official delegation pledged to Clinton for president.

Another is Jordan Apollo Pazell. "I have supported Sen. Clinton from the dawn of her campaign and will continue to support her through the convention and onward," he said.

Salt Lake County Mayor Peter Corroon, who is also a delegate, said Richardson "is the most qualified" among potential running mates as a "former secretary of energy and United Nations ambassador."

Seconding that is state Rep. Scott McCoy, D-Salt Lake, who said Richardson has an "incredible resume, executive experience, Hispanic background (and is a) Westerner."

Delegate Kurt Bestor, a music composer and local radio personality, supports Sibelius, whom he met when she visited Utah.

"I'm incredibly impressed by her and would love to see her as vice president," he said. "As a Democratic governor in a Republican state, she has obviously learned how to work 'across the aisle."'

Delegate Brian Spittler, a Brigham Young University student, also likes Sibelius.

"Not only does she have a great approval rating from her time as the governor of Kansas, but Kansas is a very red state, much like ours. It is proof that even though we may be a conservative state as a whole, we can accept and even embrace differences of opinion and make things work that much better," he said.

A few delegates suggested Biden or Kaine. State Rep. Pat Jones, D-Holladay, said, "Both are moderate and bring experience to the table."

Delegate Julie Day suggested Webb because of his military background and because he would help bring geographic balance.

Some candidates said they liked Dodd but gave no reasons why in their written responses. Dodd has a Utah connection, however. His wife is a native of Orem.


E-mail: lee@desnews.com; bbjr@desnews.com